B’nai B’rith International President Gary P. Saltzman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin have issued the following statement:
U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.) toured one of B’nai B’rith International’s housing facilities for low-income senior citizens to meet with residents and discuss the critical importance of housing for adults with limited means. B’nai B’rith Apartments in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. is a residential facility sponsored by B’nai B’rith in partnership with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Cartwright toured the building, which included visiting three apartments, the TV common area and the library and computer rooms.
“I am here today at this low-income subsidized housing unit because this is part of the American fabric—that people who are of limited means will not be shuffled off to the curb, they will [be] treated with respect and dignity. This is something we as Americans have come to expect,” Cartwright said.
This type of housing is in constant demand, and researchers say for every low-income senior housing apartment nationwide there are 10-12 seniors waiting for a spot.
Cartwright held a “Coffee with your Congressman” program after his tour, where residents sat at tables and asked the congressman his stance on social security, healthcare and affordable housing. Cartwright spent about 15 minutes at each table.
Before the tour began Cartwright met with B’nai B’rith International Assistant Director for Aging Policy Evan Carmen; B’nai B’rith Apartments Board President David Schwager; B’nai B’rith Apartments Regional Property Manager Marlene Siberski; B’nai B’rith Apartments Community Manager Kerry Palmiero; and B’nai B’rith Apartments Assistant Manager Robert Guzenski to learn about the building, the services offered, B’nai B’rith’s history with affordable housing and the urgent need for government funding for these programs.
Two persons affiliated with Amos Towers in Scranton, Pa., another B’nai B’rith-funded building, attended the event: Property Manager Louis Danzico and Board President Margie Shapiro.
“We are so pleased that Congressman Matt Cartwright toured B’nai B’rith Apartments, and spent so much time with the residents one-on-one. It is imperative that members of Congress see firsthand how essential low-income senior housing is,” Carmen said.
B’nai B’rith Apartments is the first building B’nai B’rith sponsored in its affiliation with HUD, opening in 1971. Currently, the B'nai B'rith Senior Housing Network in the United States consists of 38 buildings in 27 communities, encompassing more than 4,000 apartment units and serving more than 8,000 people.
“We are concerned about the fact that all of us here, this is subsidized housing, the majority of it, we want to be assured that subsidized housing is going to continue, or actually, be expanded is what we would like to see,” B’nai B’rith Apartments Tennant’s Association President Tom Haggerty said. “I love it here, I am happy here.”